(Phys.org) Physicists at the University of Warwick have developed a new test to identify the tell-tale hallmark of quantum coherence, classifying the properties of particles in a quantum state that are interacting with a real-world environment. Co-author Dr. Animesh Datta said: “The results from this test will be valuable in improving our understanding of how chemistry and biology works, and may allow us to answer the question of whether quantum physics has played a part in evolutionary processes.”
Microscopic particles in a quantum state are very difficult to spot as the act of observing them changes their state. These stealthy particles can exist in many locations or configurations simultaneously, a feature known as quantum coherence. Coherence allows for interference between the two pathways, allowing the particle to travel further on average than it could otherwise during the same time period. This suggests that quantum effects might have lent an evolutionary advantage to those organisms adapted to exploiting them.